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Eighty-Five, a College-Degree and a New Job

One of the ways to break stereotypes about aging and change the view that people hold about the later years is to draw attention to those who are doing amazing and meaningful things with their second-half. 

Jane Gross in Next Avenue’s E-Newsletter recently wrote a great piece about an 85-year old woman who graduated from college this year and landed her dream job accompanying a doctor on house calls to work with the elderly.She breaks so many of the myths that exist about aging, such as ‘old people can’t learn new things’ and ‘a young person could do the job better’ and ‘old people can’t change.’ 

This woman’s compelling story resembles the type of stories we need to be telling on a regular basis in our churches.  Has someone in their 60s moved overseas for a year to do mission work?  Is there an 80+ year old who is teaching Vacation Bible School?  What about someone who is 70 and works with kids in the inner city?  Start telling these stories so that others begin to see that these are the kinds of opportunities that they too can engage in during the second half of life. 

What are some of the inspiring ways that you see older adults serving in your church and community?  How can we better share those stories?


One comment

  • June 13, 2013 8:02 pmPosted 10 years ago
    Robert W. Chism

    In Finishing Life Strong: The Official Second Half of Life Handbook (2012), John Heide has a chapter entitled “What Others Are Doing-Stories of Hope and Inspiration” that is about Amy is recommending. John, also, has a chapter entitled “It’s Never Too Late To Make Difference” in Longevity Response-Ability: An Elderhood Directional Guide (2013) that is equally on the mark.

    Elderhood is the next step after adulthood, adolescences, and childhood. Today, a paradigm shift has occurred due to a combination of events: Longevity, Better Education, Greater Health Awareness, Zoomer-Boomer Life Style, and Discretionary Time. This reality is not new but there is a Longevity Response-Ability Crusade focusing greater awareness and resources for a better society and elimination of ageism.

    New Beginnings Longevity Response-Ability Think Tank, affectionately referred to as Second Half of Life Visionaries, goal is to fight against elderhood ageism and for a better second half of life society. The team includes some thirty members. Each is accomplished in their own right in their area of expertise. They are some of the best second half of life and intergenerational ministry minds ever assembled for the task.

    Longevity Response-Ability, (2013) is An Elderhood Directional Guide, a collection of readings (legacy letters, stories, and plans) written by team members about what church leaders and second-halfers can do to unleash the determination and power of a new “life stage” (65-84), called elderhood (life beyond adulthood). Step one is to educate theological educational institutions, corporate church bodies, local congregations, nonprofit and private enterprises and governmental legislative bodies about the realty of a new “life stage.” The second step is to educate those in the second half of life to their choices for making a difference. The theme is doing what
    you can, where you are, with what you have. The book (Retail softcopy version $20.99 and e-Book version $3.99) is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Inspiring Voices. See the books menu on the New Beginnings website for further details.

    Tools available from New Beginnings:

    • Claim your free e-book version of Basic Ministry for the Second Half of Life (2012), Family Budget Guide, Second-Half Ministry Guide, and Elderhood Directional Guide, and reprints of Ageism in America, Elderhood Reflections, and Second Half of Life Reading Certification from
    • Invite New Beginnings to plan and/or speak at your next elderhood event.
    • Visit the New Beginnings website (


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